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Lopez in San Luis hopeful for upcoming primary election for Arizona governor

Marco Lopez San Luis.jpeg
Victor Calderón/KAWC
Democratic Arizona gubernatorial candidate Marco Lopez speaks to voters at the Comite De Bien Estar offices in San Luis, Ariz. on Friday, July 22, 2022.

With just more than one week to go until the Aug. 2 Arizona primary election, one of the candidates for governor was in Yuma County late last week.

Democrat Marco Lopez knocked on doors in the area on Friday before meeting with community leaders and residents at the Comite De Bien Estar offices in San Luis.

Lopez said the trip to Yuma County is making good on his promise to visit all 15 counties in Arizona. He said he heard what voters want here is what they want around the state, including higher paying jobs.

“Making sure that we have a pipeline of successful students that can help us attract the investments to South (Yuma) County, to San Luis, to Somerton and to Yuma," Lopez told KAWC. "That’s the concern that I hear across the state and it was consistent with what I heard this evening here in San Luis.”

Lopez is a former mayor of Nogales, Ariz., located about 70 miles south of Tucson on the U.S.-Mexico border. He said his experience as a border mayor has shown him that Arizona needs good partners along the border to facilitate border trade that he says is key to a thriving economy in communities including San Luis. Lopez said Yuma Mayor Doug Nicholls is not a good partner in Yuma County.

"The mayor of Yuma has been an obstructionist, promoting the (former President Donald) Trump notion that a border wall is the solution to solve border security and border trade," Lopez said. "It's sad. It does a disservice to residents of real border communities on the border like San Luis."

Lopez faces Secretary of State Katie Hobbs in the Democratic primary. The winner faces off against one of four Republicans in the November general election. He says he's the only Democrat showing up to public forums and debates and the only candidate for governor who's listening to rural Latino voters in Yuma County and throughout the state.

"Katie Hobbs has flip flopped on the border and border policy... so much I don't know where she stands," he said.

The former president and former Vice President Mike Pence were in Arizona Friday, Trump in support of former TV news anchor Kari Lake and Pence for Karrin Taylor Robson, who has also been endorsed by Gov. Doug Ducey, Mayor Nicholls and other Yuma County Republican leaders.

"I've been busy today talking to voters and residents in Yuma County today doing what will be representative of my job- talking to everyday Arizonans instead of political theater," Lopez said.

San Luis has been in the national news lately. Former mayor Guillermina Fuentes pleaded guilty to one federal count of ballot abuse. A recent documentary "2000 Mules" by right-wing political commentator Dinesh D'Souza cites San Luis and Yuma County as an example of ballot harvesting that led to an unfair election in 2020.

Lopez said mail-in balloting is secure and that incidents of ballot abuse should be investigated but doesn't believe there is widespread voter fraud here.

"The evidence-real evidence, facts- don't bear out that there's widespread fraud not only in our state but in our country," he said.

Lopez said there is a frustration among several Arizona Democrats that the party is not being as vocal as their Republican counterparts in speaking to more voters. He said the Democratic party has not always done a good job of engaging voters.

"They take people like voters here in San Luis for granted," Lopez said. "Republicans... have been showing up to places where Democrats have failed to show up... The president of the Yuma County Democratic Party (Xanthe Bullard, who was at the San Luis meeting Friday) was clear- we have to engage voters."

Victor is originally from West Sacramento, California and has lived in Arizona for more than five years. He began his print journalism career in 2004 following his graduation from Georgetown University in Washington D.C. Victor has been a reporter for the following daily newspapers: The Monterey County Herald, The Salinas Californian and the Reno Gazette-Journal, where he covered stories including agriculture, education and Latino community news. Victor has also served as a local editor for Patch, a national news organization with hyperlocal websites, in Carmichael, California in the Sacramento area. He also served as the editor for The New Vision, the newspaper for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson, which includes Yuma and La Paz counties. Victor lives in Somerton. He enjoys spending time with his family and friends and following most sports.
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